Against a common background of growing economic globalisation and market competition, different interpretations of the socio-economic duality of cooperatives can be discerned. These range from a deterministic view that aims to maximise the distance between the two cooperative components with a view to assimilating cooperatives to the capitalist system, or sees assimilation as an inevitable process, to an ethical approach that addresses the means-ends and the association-enterprise tension by means of a new anthropological-linguistic (AL) approach.